BAR HARBOR – Local businesses are getting ready for a busy summer season. But some are concerned about whether or not they will have the extra help by memorial day.
It’s that time of the year again. “Now open” and “helped wanted” signs are plastered around town.
Local businesses are getting ready for the summer season.
“We’ll be in the full swing of things – ramping up our staff and getting excited with lots of an enthusiasm,” said Terri Swanson, human resource director for Witham Family Hotels, “I think it’s going to be another great season here at Mount Desert Island.”
But part of what makes the summer season go smoothly is the proper staffing to handle the thousands of visitors that come to Vacationland.
Business owners are finding it difficult to find the people they need in this country, so they need to hire workers from other countries. The visa process is becoming more complex, which leaves this small seasonal community without the extra help they need.
“Last year we ran into the challenge of them coming in late, they didn’t come until June, ” said Swanson, “It’s amazing how we come together and make this happen.”
Business owners try to hire locally but the town just doesn’t have the numbers to fill these positions, which is why they rely on foreign workers.
This year, the cap for how many foreign workers can come into the country has been maxed.
“Part of our success is that we are able to have a very diverse and strong team here at Side Street Cafe,” said Jena Young, owner of the Side Street Cafe, “And counting on those workers to return was part of our decision to make this giant expansion.”
These workers support the local businesses and for them it’s their livelihood.
Employers often spend more money to hire foreign workers because wages are set by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“We, as business owners, will always get through it. It’s just another thing on our plate to have to figure out,” said Young, “It would just be nice to just get ready for the season.”
These workers also impact the local economy by living here.
“They are a part of this community as a whole. They are really a part of Bar Harbor,” said Young, “They weren’t here for Memorial weekend. We felt it. It was hard but we got through it— but I couldn’t imagine an entire season like that.”